Local Letters to the Editor

Hot Air Balloon Festival

To the Editor:
    I just wanted to give some feedback on the Piscataquis Heritage Balloon Festival. As a spectator and a volunteer I was amazed at the amount of vendors and spectators that were at the first annual event. I realize a lot of spectators were upset over the fact that there weren’t always balloons blown up and available to see. What others don’t understand is that there is a great cost to keep them inflated all day with the amount of propane that they use in order to do so. As well as the weather — however nice to see the sun — was not very agreeable to the balloonists. If the air is too hot then they cannot lift off because of the difference in air temperature as well as if there is any wind they also cannot lift off as there is a danger of where they will end up, seeing as they are left to the wind for direction. If there is a chance of a thunderstorm, which there were many this past weekend, they also cannot lift off.

    But while understanding the upset of the spectators I believe that Jody Arno and the rest of the people who worked very hard at the scheduling of events did their best to make sure that there were things scheduled such as music and educational demonstrations going on at all times to keep things going there was always something to do or see. If we had been able to be in control of Mother Nature we would have had all people who had bought tickets to have rides in balloons get them and we would have had all the tethered rides available as well. Unfortunately that was not the case.
    Hence I was most impressed with the professionalism of the people who put their heart and soul into this to keep something going at all times. There were vendors from all over showcasing their amazing talents as well as local businesses doing presentations and information and samples. I think that having the Birds Acre Wildlife Sanctuary as well as Tony Sohns “The Bug Man” there to educate people about insects and birds was a excellent addition to the festival as well as entertaining to the youth and adults.
    I think that in spite of the weather issues it was an amazing event that I am in hopes of seeing again consistently year after year. And kudos to my sister for following her dream and making it a reality with all the help and guidance from the Kiwanis Club and townspeople to bring such an amazing event to Dover-Foxcroft. I believe she brought a big asset to the town and local businesses.

Carla Arno

Burying town drinking well shortsighted

To the Editor:
    Drinking water is not evenly distributed around the world. In fact the deliberately sacrificed (seized and buried) Dover-Foxcroft town fresh water well might have supplied an 8 ounce glass of water to each of 2,400 people every minute. We will someday have to do without oil wells, but die in less than a week fighting over drinking water.
    University of Maine students from the Middle East have taken up collections in order to ship drinking quality water back to their homelands because arsenic in well water back home is a killer over time. Bottled water is not a fad when infant formula should be prepared. Thirst leaves no choices.
    Maine is rich, rich, rich in H20. It falls from our sky as rain, pure driven snow, even fog at times, dripping off the pine needles. We are the Donald Trumps of water! So this well was “fired”?
    Elsewhere, glaciers are drying up, wells are parching, rivers running dry, seas drained, populations are exploding, and Dover just buried a well good for 300 gallons a minute or 2,400 full 8 ounce glasses every 60 seconds?
    Shortsighted? Dover-Foxcroft needs a whole new town government. Our state department of environmental protection and hired hands didn’t even bother to test the well before they gave the selectmen three choices, one of them 600,000 pieces of silver, and a gated drive-by hiking ground.

Charles MacArthur

No honor great enough

To the Editor:
    It was a beautiful evening, the smell of lilacs in the air, as local dignitaries and native sons of Dexter met on the grounds of the Blaine House to join Maine’s First Lady and the Governor in honoring Maine’s only married World War II veteran couple, Guy and Nancy Ellms. After Rep. Paul Davis, Rep. Ray Wallace and their spouses greeted and exchanged pleasantries with the Ellms and their lovely daughter, Linda, who was visiting from Chicago, the group made their way into the Governor’s Mansion. Soon after the group was seated, First Lady Ann LePage appeared to greet the veterans and express her excitement and pleasure on having the opportunity to honor them at the Blaine House.
    Ann LePage fairly glows with energy when she enters a room and, with her genuine infectious personality, it is easy to see why she has become a favorite with veterans throughout the State of Maine. The Governor’s wife immediately focused on making the Ellms, along with all the guests, feel right at home and relaxed in the executive residence. It wasn’t long into the conversations around the sitting area that the Governor and the First Daughter arrived.
    Governor LePage and his daughter, Lauren, made sure to impress upon the guests of honor how grateful they were for the service and sacrifice the Ellms had given to this country and the State in World War II. After a short time of drinks and conversation, the call was given for dinner. The Governor made sure that Guy and Nancy and daughter, Linda, were seated next to him at the table and that they were treated to a unforgettable night of good food, good friends and great conversation in their honor.
    Guy and Nancy Ellms are both War World II veterans. Guy was born March 13, 1919 in Dexter. Nancy was born July 8, 1925 in Worcester, Mass.
    Guy was drafted right after Pearl Harbor and served in the 433rd Anti-Aircraft and Supply Battalion as a truck driver. He landed in Casablanca in the North Africa campaign and saw action throughout Italy in Anzio, Monte Cassino, Naples and Rome. Then over to France helping to drive the Nazis back up into Germany, where he witnessed many defeated and ragged Germans surrendering in droves to their convoys alongside the roads.
    His wife Nancy enlisted at the age of 20 near the end of the war and was stationed stateside in Washington, D.C. as a Navy WAVE. She contends she was a “favorite” to the soldiers, as her duties were to handle and send the many discharge papers to the soldiers who were coming home. Nancy and Guy Ellms have been married for 65 years and have two daughters. When asked the secret to their success, they smile and say, “Well, we just like each other.”
    On a personal note, I had the opportunity to meet Guy Ellms and then his wife Nancy, when Guy introduced himself on one of my jobsites in Dexter. I was impressed with his wit and captivated by the stories of his time at war. I was further impressed when he introduced me to his lovely wife Nancy. I mentioned the couple to First Lady Ann LePage and she expressed an interest in meeting them. I talked with Rep. Paul Davis and Rep. Ray Wallace and they agreed that it would be nice to recognize this great couple.
    The Ellms were willing to have dinner with the Governor on the one condition that we show honor to all veterans. Guy and Nancy did not want to be seen as something different than their fellow warriors. This seems to be the sentiment I hear from every veteran.
    I had the privilege to drive the Ellms to Augusta. All through the evening this wonderful couple asked, “Why are you doing this for us?” Even at the end of the evening as we shook hands at his home in Dexter, Guy Ellms asked again, “Why?” What I said to him I would say to every veteran in this Great State of Maine and across this nation; there is no parade, dinner, award or honor so great that it could ever repay the magnitude of the sacrifice and service our veterans have given to this country, The United States of America. For this they have my undying love, honor and respect.
    May God Almighty bless all the veterans of this nation.

Andy Torbett,
Piscataquis Republican Party

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